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Migrants Crisis - Ensure Uninterrupted Working Of Helpline Numbers; Nodal Officers Should Remain Easily Available : Delhi HC [Read Order]

Karan Tripathi
17 May 2020 3:26 AM GMT
Migrants Crisis - Ensure Uninterrupted Working Of Helpline Numbers; Nodal Officers Should Remain Easily Available : Delhi HC [Read Order]
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The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Delhi Government to ensure the uninterrupted working of the helpline numbers set up to enable the return of migrant workers to their native places.

"we direct the respondent No.1 to ensure the uninterrupted working of their helpline number so that people may approach the Nodal Officers through the helpline numbers. The very purpose of helpline number is to help the people and, therefore, the same must be functional", the HC ordered. 

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar further directed that the Nodal Officers shall remain easily available to the migrant workers so that after the online registration the follow-up action in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures of the Delhi Government for their movement to native places be taken.

"We also expect from respondent No.1 that the Nodal Officers shall remain easily available to the migrant workers so that after the online registration the follow up action in accordance with the SOP for their movement to native places be taken", ordered the bench. 

The order has come in a PIL filed by National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour seeking proper the functioning of the mechanism set up by the Delhi Government for repatriating migrant workers to their native places.

In the petition, the Petitioner had raised the following demands:

  1. Delhi Government shall register the migrant workers mentioned in the petition for their repatriation
  2. Delhi Government shall appoint a nodal officer in each district who would facilitate the registration process and repatriate the workers to their native place;
  3. Delhi Government shall publish the names and phone number of all the nodal officer in newspapers, leading media channels and government website
  4. Delhi Government shall revive the registration process as well as the helplines set up for migrant workers
  5. Delhi Government shall provide adequate food and ration facilities until necessary arrangements are made to send the stranded migrant workers back home

Mr Anurag Ahluwalia, who appeared for the Central Government, submitted that Central Government had issued order dated 29th April, 2020 which

prescribes, in detail, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) regarding movement of stranded migrant workers. The detailed instructions have been issued to all the States including Delhi.

Mr Ahluwali further submitted that the procedure for appointment of Nodal Officers and the standard protocol required to be followed have also been mentioned in the said order dated 29th April, 2020.

Delhi Government, on the other hand, made the following submissions before the court:

  1. Mr.P.K.Gupta, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Government of NCT of Delhi has been appointed as State Nodal Officer and all the District Magistrates in Delhi are the Nodal Officers of their respective districts. Their names and contact details have been given on the website of Government of NCT of Delhi. Moreover, at all the relief centres where the stranded migrant workers are staying, the names of Nodal Officers and their contact details have been displayed.
  2. Delhi Government no objection regarding any prayer made in this writ petition. On the contrary, they are already looking into the difficulties which are being faced by the public at large and all possible actions are being taken by them to send the migrant workers to their native places.

Railways submitted that as and when such request will be received from any State, they are ready to provide the necessary trains.

It was further submitted by the Railways that more than 800 trains have already departed, taking around 10 lac migrant workers to their native places.

After taking these submissions into consideration the court noted that and when these workers will approach the concerned Nodal Officer, all care will be taken by the Delhi Government for their migration in accordance with law and in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure issued by Union of India.

 

Click here to download the Order


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